'Kidnapped' Movie Review

Kidnapped Miguel Angel Vivas
by Marcey Papandrea, MoreHorror.com

One of the biggest gut punches I’ve had with a film this year comes in the form of Spain’s Kidnapped. I went in thinking I knew what this film was going to be about, and what it would be like. I was wrong, very wrong.

I think one of our deepest fears, is that of violation. Any type of violation, because it leaves us exposed. Kidnapped plays to this fear in the most extreme of ways, if you can’t handle a harsh and hard-hitting film, then leave.
The film begins with an opening scene; we’re not given any context. The only thing we can gather is that whom ever we’re introduced to is going to be in for it.

The real story begins with a regular couple, Jamie (Fernando Cayo) and Marta (Ana Wagener) and their rebellious teenage daughter Isa (Manuela Velles). They are just moving into a new house, with movers helping them settle in. Marta and Isa have an argument, as Marta wants Isa home for dinner on their first night there. You know, the usual squabbles one would have with their parents.

Before they can really do much of anything, a group of men wearing ski masks rage into their home. They frighten the family and demand bank cards and such. One of the men takes Jamie out to ATM’s to collect the money, while Marta and Isa are left with the other men. Do I need to mention that nothing quite works out the way anyone was expecting?

This is a nasty and harsh film, it is mean spirited and no one is really safe. I think each person who sits to watch this, will feel differently about the family. You’ll either like them or find them sympathetic, or you will be hoping they’ll get shut up. They are a natural and realistic family; the performances by the actors are all rather strong. It feels like a real situation, the camera sits and watches for the most part. Like a voyeur would watch its subject, from afar. This is highly effective, as it just feels uncomfortable to be sitting there and watching this happen.

The film uses a real-time unedited scene for the conclusion, this was done so well and it delivered a huge impact. It worked, and it just added to the intense nature of where the film was ultimately going. I struggled to breathe during the final act of this film, I was engulfed and I had to remind myself to come up for air. The men who played the intruders looked like normal people, the only reason they were intimidating was their demeanor and masks (also the treat of violence). This added to the realism factor, and it was easy to ponder ‘How would I react if they broke into my house?’.

The direction by Miguel Angel Vivas is strong, sharp and to the point. He got the most out of his actors, and then some. It was shot perfectly, mixing all the right elements together. It definitely shares commonalities with the likes of Ils (Them), The Strangers and even Funny Games. However with the way it deals with the antagonists, it takes more of a Funny Games route, except here they are far more threatening.

I highly recommend this film, and it remains one of the strongest horror/thrillers I have seen for 2011.

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